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Vote with your Wallet- Buy Blue!

By Martha Ture, BuyBlue.org  Posted by Joan Brunwasser (about the submitter)     Permalink
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The day after the 2004 election, five people on Daily Kos started talking about how to fight back. We talked about the power of corporations to fund political campaigns, overwhelming the contributions of citizens. We talked about the potential power of the netroots to inform quickly, to make community quickly, to establish working relationships quickly, to raise money quickly, to reach outward virally, to millions of readers quickly. And we talked about the historically crucial moment in which we are living, the intent of the marketocracy to take over the world and destroy any pretense of democracy in the United States, let alone the rest of the world.

For myself, I was satisfied that the Ohio vote was rigged, an inevitable element of the war against U.S. democracy successfully conducted by the Republican party. At the January 2004 GOP gathering in suburban Virginia, as reported in the Washington Monthly, Karl Rove had laid out the 2004 plan to suppress Democratic votes, intimidate and challenge Democratic voters. The plan included fielding 30,000 lawyers and pollwatchers in Democratic precincts around the United States to interfere with voters. During the summer of 2004, I researched GOP voter intimidation and the 1980 's Karl Rove led attempts to use computers to disenfranchise voters. I expected a repeated attempt to rig the vote with the use of black box voting machines, and turn the 2004 election into a third-world-country-sham. I shouted iceberg, but nobody in the Titanic 's helm heard.

I had written a paper on the marketocracy, the transnational corporations ' intent to replace rule of law and its consent of the governed by rule of corporations with no voice for the governed. I 'd read about NAFTA, GATT, CAFTA, and the related projects. I knew about the Trans Texas Corridor Plan (see www.corridorwatch.org) and related plans. I did not know whether we had the time or the power to beat the world-destroyers.

But after consulting the wisest counselors I know, I decided to join the small group of challengers on Daily Kos in a concerted act of empowerment. We would start an online organization to give people the information with which to vote with their wallets.

We formed www.Buyblue.org on Daily Kos and had our first website up December 1, 2004. We presented a list of corporations that make products and services people buy and use at Christmas and around the calendar. We identified the companies whose PACs and executives had contributed to Democrats and to Republicans for the 2004 election campaign. We urged people to support companies that support their values, and vote with their wallets. A friend of ours with a similar website, www.choosetheblue.com, put it this way: if everyone who voted Democratic in 2004 shifted just $100 from "red " to "blue " companies in one year, that would shift $5 billion away from red companies in one year.

We called for volunteers, and people came out of the cyberwoodwork to help us research companies and their campaign contributions. And the media swarmed us; Buyblue was written up in Le Monde, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, Fox News, everywhere. The idea that regular people could shop conscientiously, aware of the consequences of their choices, seemed revelatory to the reporters.

But people shop conscientiously every day, when buying healthy food for our families, driving fuel-efficient, low-emissions cars, choosing compact fluorescent lightbulbs, safe car seats, and so on. It is an ordinary, everyday event, not a new wave, and people have been so eager to learn what companies and products are in line with their values that Buyblue had got 1 million visitors before it was a year old.

Today, Buyblue.org has information on more hundreds of products and services, the campaign contributions of the executives and PACs of the companies that provide them, and the environmental, labor, industry practices, social responsibility, and human rights records of hundreds of companies. Find us on the web at www.buyblue.org, and find ways to enhance your own triple bottom line of planet, people, and profit. You can use the site for information gathering, you can find out what companies are contributing to what 2006 Congressional races, you can volunteer, blog, and contribute. We look forward to welcoming you in our community.

In the days ahead, we want to make it easier to vote with your wallet.Go to BuyBlue.org

Martha Ture can be reached at martha.ture@buyblue.org.

 

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